Markets offer the best deals in Hong Kong, though a lot depends on how well you can bargain. Be sure to scrutinize the items that interest you carefully, since you won't be able to return them. Check clothing for faults, tears, cuts, marks, and uneven seams and hemlines. Make sure electronic gadgets work; the cute but cheap alarm clock I bought my son lasted only a week.
Hong Kong Island
Jardine's Crescent -- The open-air market that spreads along this narrow street in Causeway Bay is a traditional Chinese market for cheap clothing and accessories, including hosiery, bras, underwear, costume jewelry, handbags, hair accessories, and cosmetics. Though you may not find something worth taking home at this very local market, it's fun just to walk around; at its far end is a wet market and flower stalls. The nearest MTR station is Causeway Bay (take exit F), but you can also reach this area easily by tram. It's open daily from 11am to 9pm.
Li Yuen Street East & West -- These two steep alleys are parallel pedestrian lanes in the heart of the Central District, very narrow, and often congested with human traffic. Stalls are packed with Chinese jackets, handbags, clothes, sweaters, toys, baby clothes, watches, shoes, bolts of cloth, makeup, umbrellas, knickknacks, and on and on. Bargaining is the name of the game here. Don't neglect the open-fronted shops behind the stalls; some of these are boutiques selling fashionable but cheap clothing, as well as shoes, purses, and accessories. These two streets are located just a couple of minutes' walk from the Central MTR station (take exit C), between Des Voeux Road Central and Queen's Road Central. Vendors open daily noon to 7pm.
Stanley -- Stanley Market, rather small and easily navigated, is probably the most popular and best-known market in Hong Kong. Located on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island on a small peninsula, it's a great place to buy inexpensive clothing, especially sportswear, cashmere sweaters, silk blouses and dresses, and even linen blazers and outfits suitable for work. Men's, women's, and children's clothing is available. Shopkeepers are not keen about bargaining unless you're buying several pieces, no doubt because tourists come here by the busload. In fact, Stanley is not as cheap as it once was, many shops have remodeled into chic boutiques, and old-timers complain that Stanley has become a tourist trap. Still, you're bound to find at least something you're wild about, especially if you like cheap, fun fashions. The inventory changes continuously -- one year it seems everyone is selling tie-dyed shirts, the next it's linen suits, washable silk, Chinese traditional jackets, or Gore-Tex coats. I usually walk through the market first, taking note of things I like and which stores they're in, comparing prices along the way. Most stores carry the same products, so it pays to comparison-shop. In addition to clothing, there are also many souvenir shops selling Chinese art, embroidered linen, beaded purses, handicrafts, curios, and jewelry. And, of course, no trip to Stanley would be complete without a meal in one of its laid-back restaurants.
To reach Stanley, take bus no. 6, 6A, 6X, or 260 from Central's Exchange Square bus terminal or from Queensway Plaza in front of Pacific Place, or take Minibus no. 40 from Causeway Bay. The bus ride to Stanley, a trip in itself due to hair-raising curves and coastal vistas, takes approximately 30 heart-stopping minutes. From Kowloon, take bus no. 973 from Mody Road in Tsim Sha Tsui East or from Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Shops are open daily from 10 or 10:30am to about 6:30pm.
Jade Market -- Jade, believed by the Chinese to hold mystical powers and to protect its wearer, is available in all sizes, colors, and prices at the Jade Market, located at the junction of Kansu and Battery streets in two temporary, tentlike structures in the Yau Ma Tei District. The jade comes from Burma, China, Australia, and Taiwan, and is sold here by licensed merchants. Still, unless you know your jade, you won't want to make any expensive purchases here. Rather, come for inexpensive jade bangles, pendants, earrings, figurines, cellphone charms, and gifts. This market is also recommended for pearls, especially inexpensive freshwater pearls from China. Otherwise, this market is fun just for its unique atmosphere. The Jade Market is open daily from 10am to about 4pm (mornings are best), though vendors stay until 6pm on busy days like Sunday. It's located halfway between the Yau Ma Tei and Jordan MTR stations or is less than a 30-minute walk from the Star Ferry.
Ladies' Market -- If you want to shop at a market on the Kowloon side in the daytime, this very large market is your best bet. Stretching along Tung Choi Street (between Argyle and Dundas sts.) in Mong Kok, it serves as a lively market for inexpensive women's and children's fashions, shoes, socks, hosiery, jewelry, sunglasses, watches, handbags (including fake designer handbags), and other accessories. Some men's clothing is also sold. Although many of the products are geared more to local tastes and sizes, the increasing number of tourists has brought more fashionable clothing and T-shirts in larger sizes, and you may find some great bargains here. The atmosphere is fun and festive, especially at night when it seems to be a popular destination for young people on dates. The nearest MTR station is Mong Kok (take the E2 exit). Vendors are open daily from about 1 to 11pm.
Temple Street Night Market -- Temple Street, in the Yau Ma Tei District of Kowloon, is a night market that comes to life when the sun goes down. It offers the usual products sold by street vendors, including T-shirts, jeans, menswear, watches, lighters, pens, sunglasses, jewelry, CDs, mobile phones, electronic gadgets, alarm clocks, luggage, Chinese souvenirs, and imitation designer watches and handbags. Bargain fiercely, and check the products carefully to make sure they're not faulty or poorly made. The night market is great entertainment, a must during your visit to Hong Kong, though the surge of shoppers can be overwhelming. If you follow the market north around the left side of the car park (the wares here get decidedly more racy -- sex toys, and so on), you'll come to the Tin Hau Temple, to the right of which are fortunetellers and sometimes even street-side performers singing Chinese opera. Although the market is open daily from 4pm to midnight, it's at its busiest from 7 to 10pm and is located near Jordan MTR station (exit A).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.